WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has denounced the deal reached by the United States and other world powers on Iran’s nuclear program by saying President Barack Obama is marching Israelis “to the door of the oven,” a reference to the Holocaust.
The head of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday demanded an apology by Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor whose comments came in an interview with a conservative website on Saturday.
“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee told “Breitbart News Saturday.” “It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
Huckabee’s reference was to the Nazi death camps where millions of Jews and others were killed during World War Two.
“This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped,” Huckabee added.
U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said Huckabee’s rhetoric “has no place in American politics.”
“Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable. Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
Many U.S. Republicans have come out strongly against the July 14 accord aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has cultivated a close relationship with U.S. Republicans, has called the deal a threat to the survival of Israel. Netanyahu has urged U.S. lawmakers to reject a deal he said would only feed an “Iranian terror machine” and would give Tehran “a sure path to nuclear weapons.”
Huckabee is seeking his party’s nomination for president in the November 2016 U.S. election. A CNN/ORC poll released on Sunday showed him in 7th place with the support of 5 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters.
There are 16 declared Republican candidates so far.
Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Eric Walsh